Professor Webster Cash from CU said the instrument package would consist of an orbiting space telescope with an opaque disk in front of it that could be up to a half mile across.
Cash also says that diffracted light waves from a target star or other space object would bend around the edges of the disk and converge in a central point. That light would then be fed into the orbiting telescope to provide high-resolution images, he said.
The new telescope, called the Aragoscope, was named after French scientist Francois Arago who first detected diffracted light waves around a disk.
The Aragoscope could allow scientists to image space objects like black hole “event horizons” and plasma swaps between stars. The telescope could also point toward Earth and image objects as small as a rabbit. Although Professor Cash says that this would be useful to hunt for lost campers in the mountains, it also has potential malevolent uses.
Cash has won multiple NASA grants for other concepts, like a concept of a telescope and a giant, daisy-shaped “starshade” that would block light from a parent star and let light from its planets to leak around the edges, allowing the team to image them. I saw part of this at the JPL open house last year.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.